Map Collection of the Austrian National Library
Caused by the political changes in the eastern European states many official large-scale maps of these countries (formerly for their military importance top-secret) are now on sale. All of them are of great interest for our department, so we have to acquire them by and by. Our first purchase was the 1:25.000 map series of Hungary; that of Poland will folIow as soon as possible. It is a great pity that these series are extremely expensive, and therefore we are looking for a possibility of establishing a well-organized exchange with map departments in the states in question. Otherwise our budget would be awfully overburdened.
In 1989 we started a campaign writing to Austrian publishers which -as far as we know- produce maps and plans. We informed them about their duty settled by the Austrian legal deposit law of handing over at least two copies of each of their cartographical products to our department. The results of this action have been very disappointing for us, because only a few firms followed our proclamation. We are now waiting for the judgement of a trial in which a publisher has been accused of neglecting his duties against deposit libraries. If he will be sentenced, this would help us into a much stronger position against map producers.
During the last two years our department continued cataloguing old maps forming formerly the map corpus of the world famous graphic collection of Albert von Sachsen-Teschen, a son-in-law of empress Maria Theresia. These holdings came to the Map Collection of the Austrian National Library after the First World War. A lot of the items had not been catalogued so far, and among them we found plenty of interesting unknown manuscript .maps and plans, in particular of 18th century battles. We believe there will be work for two or three more years. Another similar action is the checking and listing of all atlases held in different departments of the library. Some are very rare and even some till now unknown and unique objects were discovered.
A great acquisition we luckily got as a gift, were some 400 maps of the moon, the planets and space. This collection consists mainly of very modern items interesting for space-cartography and even for further space exploration.
Shortage of storage area deteriorates rapidly. Our map-cabinets are extremely overloaded and there is no more room left in the department for new ones. Our last chance is the new underground store-rooms just under construction, which are planned to house some four million books. To the Map Collection this is not very advantageous because of the large distance to our reading room.
In 1988 the department had an unforeseen drastic increase of used items: almost 70%; on the other hand the number of users is increasing slowly. Trying to find the causes for this disproportioned use we learned that the new ways of public relations and the increasing number of exhibitions made traditional users more curious about the abundance of our holdings, making them order not only items they really needed but other items too. The consequences were a heavier workload for our department's staff, but also a large quantity of restoration-work. In consideration of this last point especially we had to restrict the map orders of users to five a day. Meanwhile we succeeded in putting a halt to this development.
The Map Collection continued its attempts of computerized cataloguing. From the beginning of 1990 newly acquired views are catalogued by means of data-processing. We use as hardware an Apple Mcintosh computer and as software a database compiled by Reflex Pius, a very cheap, easy to handle, but nevertheless effective programme. Additional to the online-retrieval it permits us to produce traditional catalogue cards for a geographical as well as for an author catalogue. Similar lists of slides and black and white negatives are also made.
In 1988 the Map Collection compiled by order of Austrias biggest bank, the "Credit-Anstalt", an exhibition under the topic Explorers as North-South pioneers. Fifteen Austrian explorers from the 16th to the middle of the 20th century in countries now added to the 'third world' had to be described. In a database we collected the facts concerning their biographies, travel routes, publications, exhibits they brought from their expeditions, literature, portraits etc. For the same bank we participated in another exhibition in 1989: Exploration of Space. In the baroque reading room of the Austrian National Library -the Great Hall- the Map Collection organized the main exhibition of 1989, lasting from May to October, entitled Austria Picta. Austria on old maps and views. More than 300 items were on display, not only cartographic ones but also survey instruments and exhibits illustrating printing techniques. A 400-page catalogue with 88 coloured and 130 black and white photographs was published. Exhibition and catalogue got very good critics. In a three-day colloquium 12 papers on the general topic of the exhibition were given by some of the most prominent Austrian historians of cartography.
Commission of the Administration of Maps and Views within the Austrian Librarians Association
The main topic of all the meetings of the last two years has been the cataloguing of maps and of geographic- topographic views. The formal rules will be obviously RAK (Regeln. fiir die alphabetische Katalogisierung) which are also used in Germany, and therefore we do not see any need in developing new ones for Austria. Much more difficult is it to come to a decision about geographical subject headings. We had talks with those authorities which are responsible for official Austrian place names, such as the Statische Zentralamt (Central Office of Statistics) and the Bundesamt fiir Eich- und Vermessungswesen (Federal Office for Weight, Measures and Survey), and got from an of them promises of support, that means they will make machine-readable lists available to us, sometimes even including geographical co-ordinates. The GeoDienst of the Austian Bundesheer (Austrian Army) compiled a very sophisticated formation of natural landscapes in Austria which will be a useful tool for cataloguing geographical items.
The Fachbibliothek fiir Geowissenschaften (Special Library for Geo-Sciences) of the University Library Innsbruck catalogues books and maps with the Austrian automated library network system BIBOS, this has no sufficient subject headings facilities yet.
The library of the Geologische Bundesanstalt (Geological Survey) is establishing a computer system enabling it to import data from a database in Hannover, Germany.
A project of forming a very detailed database for place names of states East of Central Europe to the Ural can become very important. It is planned in co-operation between the Map Collection of the Austrian National Library and the East and Southeast European Institute in Vienna. The Department of Subject Heading Cataloguing of the Deutsche Bibliothek, Frankfurt, Germany, seems to be interested in this project too.
Closer contacts have been established between our Commission and the Deutsche Kartenkuratoren ( German Mapcurators). Representatives of each group join meetings of the other one. The conference of the Germans in 1989 even took place in Vienna and resulted in a very precious exchange of views.
Another success of the Commission was -after a long discussion about the necessity- the incorporation of a lecture on the administration of maps and views into the basic education course for Austrian librarians.
Franz Wawrik, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Map- and Globe-department